At least four people hurt in e-scooter crashes in Bedfordshire last year

Police remind users they are still illegal on roads, pavements and the park - and you could be fined £300

By Reporter
Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 4:25 pm

At least four people were hurt in crashes involving electric scooters in Bedfordshire last year, new figures reveal.

Department for Transport (DfT) figures, published for the first time, show four casualties were recorded by Bedfordshire Police as having been involved in accidents with the vehicles in 2020.

Across Britain, police forces recorded 484 casualties resulting from 460 e-scooter incidents last year.

Any use of a privately-owned e-scooter on a road, pavement, park or other public place is unlawful - if caught, you could have your e-scooter seized, up to six points on your license and a £300 fine

Of the casualties, the majority – 384 – were e-scooter riders.

It is currently illegal to ride e-scooters on public roads outside of Government-backed trials, which began in certain areas last summer.

The DfT said the figures are likely to relate largely to private use.

One person – an e-scooter rider – was killed and 128 people were seriously injured following crashes across Britain last year.

Beds Police seize an e-scooter

The DfT warned many non-fatal casualties may have gone unrecorded nationally because there is no obligation to report such incidents to police forces.

Inspector Ed Finn, from the Bedford Community Policing team, said: “Earlier this year, we launched an operation taking action against people who continually break the law by choosing to illegally ride e-scooters.

“We have had a large number of people asking us to take action around the road safety concerns and links to criminality that have come with the sudden increase in e-scooter use in Bedfordshire.

“We know that there has been some confusion around the legalities of e-scooters and are dedicated to continue to educate the community.

“However, we want to be clear. Any use of a privately-owned e-scooter on a road, pavement, park or other public place is unlawful and riders who continue to use them illegally will leave themselves liable to prosecution for offences under the Road Traffic Act.

“This can include their e-scooter being seized, up to six points on their license and a £300 fine.

“We have seized over 30 scooters since the start of the operation and will continue to do so where people do not follow the law.”

Trials for the use of the vehicles, which are similar to conventional kick scooters but powered by an electric motor and battery, started in July 2020 and are currently active across 31 areas in England.

However, the figures do not distinguish between incidents involving privately-owned e-scooters and rental ones.

David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils, said: “The use of e-scooters on public highways and footpaths outside of designated trial areas is illegal.

“Councils and operators are working together in these trial areas to ensure that routes are safe for both users and other members of the public and thereby reduce the chance of injuries.”

The Government said ministers had recently written to all major e-scooter retailers reminding them of their responsibility to inform customers of the law when selling e-scooters.

Excluding e-scooter riders, pedestrians and cyclists were the main other road users involved in crashes with the vehicles across Britain last year.

There were 57 pedestrians injured – 13 seriously – and 21 cyclists, with a third reporting serious injuries.

The figures show 22 vehicle occupants, including cars, vans and a bus, were also listed among the victims.

The majority of casualties whose age is known were at least 40 years old, including nine in the 70 and above category.

Eight children under 10 were also injured.

Of the e-scooter riders who were injured following crashes, around two-thirds were aged under 30, including 118 who were 10 to 19 years old and two who were under 10.

Some older e-scooter riders were also among the casualties, including one who was at least 70.

A DfT spokesman added: “Safety will always be our top priority and the trials currently taking place in 31 regions across England are allowing us to better understand the benefits of e-scooters and their impact on public space.

“Evidence from the trials will allow government to consider how best to design future regulations and avoid the issues that other countries have faced.“